La Ronda is a captivating addition to Quito‘s Unesco-listed historical district, and the long, curving street has become one of the Ecuadorian capital’s most treasured attractions over the years. Here, we delve into the history of La Ronda and pick out the best things to do there.
Located just south of Quito’s main historical district, La Ronda is found between Calle Venezuela and Pedro Vincente Maldonado. Its origins date back to the time of the Incas, but it underwent a major transformation after the Spanish conquest in the 16th century as residential and commercial construction began, largely in the Andalusian style common in Spain.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
In the late 19th century, La Ronda began to develop a reputation as a bohemian barrio. Over the following few decades, it became home to painters, poets, political activists and even priests (most notably, Federico González Suárez, who served as the Archbishop of Quito for 12 years).
As Quito grew and La Ronda gradually depopulated, it became increasingly associated with criminals. Yet, ironically, it benefited from neglect; its historical buildings were never razed to make way for modern shopping malls, condos, and fast-food franchises. In the late 20th century, a movement began to restore La Ronda.
Today, from the outside, the lantern-lit streets and floral balconies enhance the romantic ambiance, making La Ronda one of the crown jewels of Quiteño culture. A series of doorways open up to a courtyard and multiple art galleries, museums, craft shops, and elegant restaurants. Here’s a flavor of what you can expect to see and do in La Ronda today.
Visit the Casa de las Artes
Casa de las Artes is a museum and gallery split across nine rooms featuring exhibits of new Quiteño art, as well as a nostalgic recreation of domestic life in the city from decades past. Admission is free.
Canelazo is a local alcoholic drink made from a combination of naranjilla (a type of citrus fruit grown in the Andes), cinnamon, and the strong cane liquor, aguardiente. It’s served hot, and you can buy a cup for the equivalent of less than $1.
Try the local food
Whether you’re after a quick bite or a sit down meal, you won’t be short of dining options on La Ronda. For authentic Ecuadorian cuisine, head to any one of La Negra Mala, Casa los Geranios, Can Ferran or La Primera Casa Restaurante & Arte. Panaderia Reina de la Paz is a good spot for pizza and craft beer, while Dulce Placer Heladeria is the place to go for delicious ice cream.
Enjoy live music
Many of La Ronda’s eateries and taverns feature live music from Ecuadorian folk artists ready to serenade their audiences with traditional ballads about broken hearts and lost loves, adding to the convivial ambience for which La Ronda is famed.
Dance to salsa
Many of La Ronda’s bars and clubs also feature live Latin American music, creating a carnival vibe for locals and visitors alike to jam to salsa, cumbia, and merengue. Don’t feel shy about taking part – just embrace the music and dance like nobody’s watching. It’s one of the most authentic and immersive ways to soak up the unique atmosphere of La Ronda, and feel like you’re an active part of it.
Watch street performers
Street performers like dance troupes, magicians, jugglers, and fire-eaters have a long history in Quito, and they are especially popular with crowds on La Ronda. You never know what kind of weird and wonderful acts you might come across on any given day – but they’re usually worth stopping by for the free entertainment.
The galleries and shops on La Ronda specialize in arts, crafts and clothing not found anywhere else in the city. Even if you have no intention of buying anything, you can easily pass an hour or so mooching around and discovering what’s on offer.
The city of Quito provides interpretive boards in both Spanish and English that educate locals and foreigners about La Ronda’s complex history. Keep an eye out for them as you go – it’s well worth stopping to have a read and get a sense of how the area has transformed over time.
Interested in visiting La Ronda? You can do so as part of a guided walking tour of Quito on Culture Trip’s exclusive eight-day Ecuador adventure, led by our Local Insider.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.